Way too early 2024 NFL mock draft
I did it last year and I’m doing it again! Welcome to my way too early 2024 NFL mock draft.
The structure of this is simple. I predict the worst 18 teams in the league that won’t make the playoffs (in my opinion) and run an 18 team mock draft. I’m sorry, but I’m not projecting playoff matchups and Super Bowl winners just after the draft. That’s insane. Especially with a surface level understanding of the 2024 draft class, giving you guys 18 prospects to watch early on is a lot better than throwing darts at 32.
Of my 18 players mentioned in last years mock, TEN were selected in the first round, with players like Will Levis, Kayshon Bouette, Kelee Ringo and O’Cyrus Torrence not becoming first round selections like many, including myself, predicted. Let’s see how I fare this year!
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1. Commanders: Caleb Williams, QB
Let me paint the scenario as to why I can see Washington having the first overall pick in next years draft. For starters, the offense will likely struggle in Sam Howell’s first full season as a starter. Mix in a likely mid season trade of Chase Young or Montez Sweat and the fact that Washington is in one of the most competitive divisions in football and you can easily persuade me that the Commanders could wind up with the first overall selection and that Ron Rivera could be out as the teams head coach. Caleb Williams is undoubtedly going to be the first overall selection in next years draft and would be returning to his hometown team if selected by Washington.
2. Titans: Marvin Harrison Jr, WR
Outside of Derrick Henry and the interior of their defensive line, Tennessee’s roster is horrid. With Ryan Tannehill likely gone after this season, I’m giving Will Levis or Malik Willis one more year to prove they’re the guy at QB, but the Titans has to address their AWFUL wideout depth chart.
3. Cardinals: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB
With Kyler Murray’s ACL injury late last season, Colt McCoy will be the teams starter for the majority of the season next year. That, with a leaky defense behind him will cause Arizona to be picking in the top five of next years draft. Arizona still needs to find a number one corner after Byron Murphy left the team this offseason and McKinstry should be able to slide right in. He is a willing tackler, sticky in man to man coverage and when tested (it’s rare) has shown capable ball skills. In what appears to be a weaker CB class, expect McKinstry to be coveted and selected high next year.
4. Falcons: Bralen Trice, EDGE
Atlanta was amongst the leagues worst in pressure rate in each of the last two seasons. Simply put, something has to change in the pass rush department. For the first time since 2019, someone other than Will Anderson led college football in QB pressures this past season, and that person was Washington’s Bralen Trice. At 6’4” 270 pounds with long levers as arms and an impressive bull to speed pass rush skillset, I don’t see how he won’t be a top five fixture in next years draft if he continues to improve.
5. Colts: Olu Fashanu, OT
With Gardner Minshew being the team’s starting quarterback to begin the season and Anthony Richardson’s expected growing pains when given the chance, I think there’s a very high chance Indianapolis Is picking high again next year. Fashanu would’ve been my OT1 in this years draft if he hadn’t shockingly returned to college, as he would likely move Bernard Raimann inside to guard.
6. Buccaneers: Joe Milton, QB
With Tom Brady retired, the Bucs having one of the worst ground games in the NFL last season and Shaq Barrett returning from a career altering Achilles injury, I’m fully expecting Tampa Bay to be picking high in next years draft. I’m not going be chalk here and get a little predictive. I’m projecting Drake Maye to have a Will Levis like drop in production next year with his number one target, Josh Downs now a Colt. With how high Anthony Richardson went in this years draft based off of limited playing time and athletic traits through the roof, Milton has a chance to be highly drafted after a successful season at Tennessee.
7. Cardinals (Texans): Brock Bowers, TE
This draft selection belongs to Arizona after Houston traded up with the Cardinals for the third overall pick to select Will Anderson. After getting a play maker on defense, it’s time to get Kyler Murray another weapon with Deandre Hopkins days with the team likely numbered, even if he ends up playing in Arizona this upcoming season. Brock Bowers is the best Tight End I’ve seen in college since I’ve followed it closely (This includes Kyle Pitts) and gives me Travis Kelce vibes with his ability to separate and work in space with the ball in his hands. He’s easily worth a top ten selection. He’s an incredible athlete.
8. Rams: Joe Alt, OT
With a completely gutted roster from their Super Bowl run, I’m expecting the Rams to have an early draft selection next year. Some might clamor about Matthew Stanford’s contract and yell for Drake Maye here, but Joe Alt is easily the best player available and gives the Rams a building block on an awful offensive line.
9. Patriots: Drake Maye, QB
New England is projected to have the toughest schedule in the league next season, which leads me to believe that they’ll be picking somewhere within the top ten in next years draft. If they are picking as high as I’m projecting, I suspect the Patriots will move on from Mac Jones and will draft a new signal caller.
10. Raiders: Kalen King, CB
With a projected 29th most difficult schedule this season and seemingly lateral moves by replacing Derek Carr and Darren Waller with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jakobi Meyers, we should expect the Raiders to be picking in the top ten again this year. The Raiders defense will still be a below average unit next year, and they didn’t address the Cornerback position until round four. In single coverage last year, King led all corners in the country with a 93.3 grade and a 18.3 passer rating allowed. His 15 forced incompletions in single coverage were tied for third among FBS corners as well, according to PFF.
11. Bears (Panthers): Dallas Turner, EDGE
Due to Carolina trading up to first overall to select Bryce Young, Chicago now has their first round selection in next years draft. Chicago still hasn’t found their Khalil Mack replacement since he left town, as they grab blue chip pass rushing prospect, Dallas Turner from Alabama to garner more pressure off the edge. Over Turners first two years, his 14 sacks are tied for second most among returning power five defenders.
12. Packers: Leonard Taylor, DT
Green Bay drafted themselves pass rush depth on the edge with Lukas Van Ness, but the interior of their defensive line could still use some work as well. Taylor’s pressure rate only trailed this years 19th overall pick, Calijah Kancey as far as interior defensive lineman are concerned last season, as I think he has a strong chance to be the first interior defensive lineman off the board in next years draft.
13. Steelers: Jared Verse, EDGE
If I was a betting man, Jared Verse would’ve been a first round selection in last years draft before deciding to return to Florida State for another season, as he is arguably the best returning pass rusher in college football. After the conclusion of the draft, I’d argue that Pittsburgh’s biggest need is another pass rusher on the edge. They very well could bring in a Markus Golden, Justin Houston or Yannick Ngakoue as veteran options in free agency, but Verse would fill that role and is easily the best player available at this point in the draft.
14. Saints: Emeka Egbuka, WR
Much focus is on Marvin Harrison Jr, but Egbuka, a former number one overall WR recruit in the 2021 class, shredded defenses last season, as he tallied 74 receptions for 1,151 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. A bold prediction of mine is that Egbuka out produces Harrison Jr. next season & that the Ohio State Buckeyes have the first two wideouts selected in next years draft.
15. Bears: JC Latham, OL
With Teven Jenkins on a short leash with this new front office, I can see the team moving on from him if he doesn’t take major strides forward this season. Enter Latham, who has experience at guard and could start there from day one, but could also compete with Braxton Jones to start at Left Tackle as well. After addressing their pass rush earlier in the draft, the Bears should think about Justin Fields and his future with their second first round selection.
16. Giants: Rome Odunze, WR
New York needed to create a much stronger receiving core for this offense to take a step forward this upcoming season and Darius Slayton, Wan’Dale Robinson, Jalin Hyatt and Parris Campbell won’t cut it. The Giants just signed Daniel Jones to a big deal, now it’s time they get serious about surrounding him with enough weapons. Odunze is a big bodied, 6’3” wideout that uses his frame to make contested catches look easy, uses his 4.4 second forty speed to separate down field and is deadly after the catch. He’s a true three level receiver that will compete with Egbuka and Malik Nabers to be next years WR2.
17. Browns: Maason Smith, DT
Cleveland needs a space eater in the middle of their defensive line and Maason Smith offers one of the biggest upsides at the position in the draft if he recovers well from a torn ACL he suffered last season.
18. Broncos: J.T. Tuimoloau, EDGE
Tuimoloau was a former five star prospect in the 2021 class that has a chance to follow in the Bosa brothers and Chase Young’s footsteps at being a first round edge prospect. He has versatile size and pairs that size with explosive power and flexibility on the edge. He flashed his immense upside against Penn State last year with a two sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery & two interception (one returned for a touchdown) performance. If he can be more consistent and stack together quality performances like that one together next season, he could be drafted higher than this. Look for him to raise some eyebrows at the draft combine as well.
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